Sabag Ben-Porath, Chen, Lev-On, Azi, and Lehman-Wilzig, Sam. (2020). Silent partners: How politicians’ Facebook communication with constituents is mediated, and why it matters. Politics and Policy, 48(3), 550-569
Theoretical research on political communication between Members of Parliament (MPs) and the public has focused on the role, activities, and perceptions of the MPs themselves without noting the existence of an intermediate layer: Parliamentary Assistants (PAs). This study examines the presence of PAs in the process of MPs’ interactions with the public, and their PA’s role in this process. The study investigates the perception that social media involves direct contact between the public and parliamentarians, raising questions regarding how communication is conducted between these two actors in political representation. The study found that PAs’ social media skills and knowledge are hardly considered in the hiring process, although they play a central role in the MPs’ social media connection with the public. Subjective variables generate differences in PA level of involvement operating MP social media channels. Based on these findings, a typology of PA involvement in MP social media operation is offered.